Molyjam Deux has ended, and with it, roughly 60 hours of sheer coding, caffeine and weirdness. From early Friday afternoon to late Sunday evening, more than a dozen developers met, looked over Peter Molyneux’s strange quotes for inspiration, and built a collection of games that ran the gamut from weird to amazing to mind-shattering and everything in between.
When it was all said and done, some of the games included a James Bond villain simulator in which the user had to outfit his or her evil lair and recruit staff; a spoiled teenager simulator; a flight simulator in which the user had to fly a semi-functional plane with some of its dials and features missing; a text adventure in which you befriend dinosaurs to find electronic components for you; and, finally, a conception simulator where you played as a single sperm swimming towards an egg.
Whatever they wanted to code, they sat down and hashed it out, sorting through bugs where they arose and racing against the clock to produce the best builds possible before webcasting their entries to viewers around the world. On a practical level, while some of the ideas had no real-world applications, the developers were able to pull some incredible ideas out of nowhere and execute them over the course of the weekend.
If there’s something that made this work, it was this: Nothing was at stake here. There were no outside consultants or speakers, no PowerPoint presentations, no stated timeline or set of goals to achieve. It was just a series of open-ended tasks and ideas; people could work with anyone they wanted, and nothing was taboo or off-limits. When the event itself was over, there was a sense of genuine pride in the air. These people had pulled some killer apps out of nowhere and could head on home knowing a bit more than they did when they walked in Friday afternoon; several asked if there’d be similar game jams in the future.
No, a game jam doesn’t fit into the typical corporate training purview. And it may never. But if there was ever a department head looking to bring something amazing out of a group of people in a training session, head on out and see this kind of event in action. See some truly amazing developers be given free reign to create the thing they want, see them use any resource they can get their hands on, and see them bounce ideas off each other to find a way around a bug that’s been driving them nuts.